The latest version of WordPress is now available. It’s called WordPress 6.3 “Lionel,” and it’s the second major update of WordPress in 2023. This version is named after Lionel Hampton, a talented American musician known for playing jazz instruments like the vibraphone, piano, and percussion and leading a band.
Normally, WordPress releases major updates a few times each year, along with smaller updates in between. These major WordPress updates introduce new features, improvements to existing features, and performance and security enhancements.
Each time WordPress releases a big update, we explore its new features to determine how they benefit users, particularly those in the Website Creation Workshop. WordPress 6.3 offers some noteworthy new features, particularly aimed at users who utilize block themes in WordPress. Keep reading to learn more about “Lionel” and whether these updates will benefit you.
Updating to WordPress 6.3
I suggest waiting a few days before you update your website to WordPress 6.3. Significant updates like this one usually need adjustments to plugins and themes to function correctly. While developers of these plugins and themes typically aim to make these adjustments before the new WordPress version is released, it’s still a wise choice to wait a little while before updating to prevent unforeseen issues.
Version 6.3 is a major update (not a minor security update). Depending on your hosting company, you may need to log in to your WordPress admin panel and run an update yourself. This step-by-step guide & video on “How to Update WordPress to the Latest Version” will help you if you need to manually update it.
Many web hosting services automatically take care of these WordPress updates for you. Also, if you have an automatic update option turned on within your WordPress admin panel, the update should run automatically as it gets released.
New Features of WordPress 6.3
WordPress 6.3 has some exciting features that could be useful, especially if you use WordPress Block Editor, also known as Gutenberg. The “Full Site Editing” feature, initially introduced in WordPress 5.9, has been significantly improved.
I don’t cover the WordPress Block Editor in my Website Creation Workshop because it’s not as easy to use and versatile as other visual editors like Divi and Elementor, which I teach. Additionally, transitioning to the Block Editor might be challenging if you’re used to the dependable Classic Editor. Nevertheless, WordPress is dedicated to making the Block Editor a fantastic and free tool for everyone.
Here is the WordPress 6.3 overview video:
Added Options in the Full Site Editor
You’ll see they added more options to the full site editor. They moved some tools, such as Navigation, from various places to the Full Site Editor Design panel to make them easier to find.
You can now create and edit pages from the Full Site Editor.
Command Palette Works Faster
Command Palette is a cool way to move from one area to another in the WordPress admin panel. Say you want to go to the Posts from the Full Site Editor. Instead of clicking multiple times to get there, all you need to do is to click on the magnifying glass icon in the sidebar (or use this keyboard shortcut: ⌘+k on Mac or Ctrl+k on Windows), start typing where you want to go and make your selection.
Tracking Style Revisions
The Block Editor now tracks the changes you make to the Style, making it easy for you to return to the previous style when needed.
Create Your Own Black Patterns
WordPress block patterns are pre-made design elements that you can use to create custom content layouts faster. Until now, WordPress block patterns were only available in the ‘patterns’ tab in the block inserter panel or on the WordPress.org website.
WordPress 6.3 gives you the ability to create your own block patterns!
You can create block patterns from your block editor or site editor (if you use one of the Block Themes).
Site Editor (Appearance – Editor – Patterns)
If you turn on the “Keep all pattern instances in sync” when creating a pattern, all instances of that pattern will be updated whenever you make changes to that pattern.
Block Theme users: Your original patterns are viewed and managed in the Site editor area (Appearance – Editor – Patterns).
Non-block Theme users: View your block patterns under the Patterns tab in the Block Inserter panel.
New Block: Details Block (for accordion effect)
They added a new block called “Details Block” which can be used to create an accordion effect. The way it works is pretty simple. Click the Details block to hide or reveal the text.
This is what the details block looks like on the front end.
Here is what it looks like when the details element is clicked.
New Block: Footnotes Block
This new block makes it very easy to insert footnotes. Highlight the part of the text you’d like to add a reference to and select “Footnote” from the toolbar. You’ll be prompted to enter the content of the footnote, and when finished, you’ll see the text linked to the newly created footnote.
Improved Dimensions Controls
You can control the spacing of block elements (margins, paddings, etc.) more easily with WordPress 6.3. Just look for the Dimensions in the Styles panel.
Preview Block Themes
Thinking about switching to a new Block Theme? Now, you can preview how your website will look with a new block theme before you switch. This was previously available for non-Block Themes only. Click the Live Preview button to see how any Block Themes installed on your site will look.
Other Improvements with WordPress 6.3
Additionally, I have this guide to help you update your WordPress to the most recent version.
I would love to hear your thoughts or comments on the guide. Feel free to share them below.